News from Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

'Working without Fear' Campaign launched on National Stalking Awareness Day 2014

The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual  Violence is supporting and promoting the "Working without fear" awareness campaign which focuses on raising awareness around stalking in the workplace as part of National Stalking Awareness day, April 24th. The campaign is to inform employers and employees about how to deal with the issue of stalking in the workplace.

Martin Lakeman, Strategic Co-ordinator for The Forum said: “The issue of stalking in the workplace is far more common than many people think. Research shows that in the UK, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men are stalked at some point in their lives (British Crime Survey 2011). Stalkers can be colleagues or clients - and of those stalkers who are not, 50% will still present themselves at the victim’s workplace. This creates risk not only for the victim but also their colleagues or manager who may have to interact with the stalker if they do turn up to the premises. We want employers to examine whether they have policies and procedures to support their staff, there most important asset”

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked at some point in their lives;
  • 40 per cent of victims are stalked by an ex-partner; crucially, in many cases the partner would have been emotionally or physically abusive during the relationship;
  • Ex-partner stalking cases carry the highest risk of escalation to physical violence;
  • On average, a stalker will contact 21 people connected to the victim. This may include family, friends, employer, neighbours; even, in some cases, the victim’s regular gym or favourite cafĂ©;
  • It is becoming more common for stalkers to use technology like GPS on mobiles, tracker devices or spyware on phones to locate a victim;

Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence. Stalkers who are not related to the workplace often make contact with the victim there because of ease of access or simply in order to cause them further distress.

The 2012 Act created two new offences of stalking and stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm and distress; The new law in England and Wales provides a non-exhaustive list of behaviours that can be viewed as stalking and this includes following a person, publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, monitoring the use of a person via the internet, loitering in any place - whether public or private - contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means.  The perpetrator does not need to be threatening violence before stalking becomes a criminal offence. Under section 4A of the new stalking law, behaviour that causes serious distress is viewed equally as behaviour that involves a fear of violence.

The facts around stalking make for sobering reading :
Martin concluded: "This awareness campaign is really important, the impact on victims of stalking is devastating and sadly we know can have tragic consequences. It's vitally important that employers recognise their role in supporting staff and that victim's know they will be listened to, believed and supported".